Merck opens testing plant in latest Korean bioprocessing investment
The firm’s global M Lab Collaboration Centers enable biomanufacturing firms to view and test bioprocessing equipment, and a newly unveiled 1,865m2 site reflects Korea’s growing biopharma ambitions, the firm says.
“With a rapidly growing biopharmaceutical industry in Korea and demand for novel and cost-effective therapies worldwide, there is a clear need for innovative concepts like our M Lab Collaboration Centers,” said Udit Batra, CEO of the firm’s Life Science division.
The facility replaces a smaller site in Seoul and is located in the area of Songdo, Incheon – a ‘smart city’ reclaimed from the sea – which is home to a number of biopharma firms including Celltrion and Samsung Biologics which are investing heavily in their respective biomanufacturing capacities.
In fact, the CEO of the latter - TH Kim – endorsed Merck’s new facility in a statement, saying it will play an important role in supporting the local biomanufacturing market.
“Merck's decision to invest in Songdo, fast growing as world largest biologics manufacturing hub with 520,000L of plant capacity by 2018, represents a significant milestone in the development of the Songdo Bio Cluster, which will accelerate the future growth of Incheon as well as Korean Biopharmaceutical industry.”
The unveiling complements a four year plan recently announced by the South Korean government intended to fuel the growth of the country's bio-health industry through incentives including offering drug companies higher tax benefits.
Merck joins fellow bioprocessing technology firm GE Healthcare, which only last week announced it had opened a 2,200m2 training centre in Songdo at a cost of $7.4m.